It appears that the DG Shipping does not consider Naval Officers competent to take up jobs in the Merchant Marine. A notice No. MS 2/2000 issued by the DG Shipping on 23 March 2000 disqualifies naval officers holding 'Certificates of Service', from posts on merchant ships, unless they acquire another 'Certificate of Competency' as prescribed for others. This would mean that hundreds of retired naval officers will be out of jobs at sea in the merchant ships after 2002 and the gangway for those retiring thereafter will be closed.

The Certificate of Service is awarded by DG Shipping on the recommendations of Naval Headquarters. It confirms that the retired naval officer has completed 7 years of watch-keeping service at sea and has passed certain mandatory courses prescribed by DG Shipping. 

Prima facie the edict is unfair and requires consideration at the highest level, between Naval Headquarters and the Ministries of Defence and Shipping. Some discussions are reported to have taken place inconclusively between Naval Headquarters and the DG Shipping, but the level and seriousness of these must be raised to find a just and fair resolution of this retrograde step. It must be remembered that in all countries including India, due recognition/consideration is given to an individuals past service, in matters of seeking employment. However, this practice is sought to be nullified with one stroke in the case of naval officers aspiring to join the merchant marine after retirement.  The argument that the management practices and specialisation required in the modern merchant ships, is beyond the competence of retiring naval officers is to say the least unfair and unwarranted.

Every nation encourages its retired naval officers to join the merchant marine, as they get experienced and disciplined officers whose management and seamanship skills are second to none. The real benefit is in times of war, when the Navy is required to assume control of merchant shipping, where the experience of the retired naval officers in the merchant ships has proved invaluable on more than one occasion. 

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